Binge Guide

Weekly Binge: Bates Motel

by | March 3, 2015 | Comments

A&E’s Bates Motel returns for round three on March 9, and if its chilling preview teasers are any indication, we’re in for one helluva ride. The time draws near for this Psycho-inspired prequel to set the record straight on Mr. Norman Bates and his notorious proclivities– and we’re not just talking murder. Here’s why you should catch up with this excellent, spine-tingling thriller.

 

Bates Motel

Bates Motel

What’s the premise? Teenager Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother, Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga), open a motel in a small Oregon shipping town.

What’s it like? From executive producers Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood), Bates Motel is a modern-day prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s landmark 1960 psychological thriller Psycho. Don’t expect any Janet Leigh reenactments, however; this twisty, sadistic series is all about teenage Norman Bates and his relationship with his mother. You think Joan Crawford was bad? Farmiga’s Norma heralds in a new era of Mommie Dearest. And speaking of Mommie Dearest, Bates Motel, too, maintains a certain campiness through the terror.

Where can I see it? Seasons one and two are both available in their entirety on Netflix. They are also available on iTunes, Vudu, and Xbox Video. Season two is available on Hulu and A&E Online. You can also get the complete first and second seasons on DVD and Blu-ray.

How long will it take? Both seasons are composed of 10 45-minute episodes. You could crank this one out in a week’s time.

What do the critics think? Season one of Bates Motel is Certified Fresh at 81 percent and season two is Fresh at 86 percent. Most critics note the creative freedom Cuse and Ehrin take by setting the series in present day, and Farmiga and Highmore’s performances have garnered quite a bit of praise as well (including an Emmy nomination for Farmiga). The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman wrote upon Bates Motel‘s 2013 premiere that “there”s more than enough intrigue and entertainment on top of Farmiga’s outstanding turn to keep viewers wanting more of this new-style nonhomage to Psycho.” Clark Collis of Entertainment Weekly echoed the sentiment, proclaiming that “Farmiga gives a performance to die for.” Of season two, RogerEbert.com’s Brian Tallerico said, “This is pretty far from the original Psycho and I like it when a show like this gets darkly humorous with its own legacy.”

Why should I watch this? Even though we’ve known this iconic setting for 50 years, Bates Motel‘s Norma and Norman prove to be complex, nuanced characters with emotional depth. Norma and Norman may be a bit — okay, a lot — off their rockers, but by most counts, they are pure in intention. Also, creative heavyweights Cuse and Ehrin know how to balance the grisly narrative with dark humor, and watching a disheveled mother sport a blood-spattered apron while disposing of a corpse with her placid-faced, 17-year-old son is morbidly funny. (And that’s not to mention lines from Norma like, “Why do crazy people keep gravitating towards me?”) The writers’ room remains self-aware in the best of ways, and Bates Motel‘s portrayal of its small town of secrets makes for an engaging cast of supporting players to boot.

What’s my next step? After you’re caught up on Bates Motel, it’s time to watch Psycho and Psycho 2. On the TV side, Twin Peaks is a series to add to your queue. From acclaimed auteur David Lynch, it’s certainly more surreal than Bates Motel, but if you’re looking for an ensemble series with mind games and suspense to spare, there’s no other quite like it. Plus, it’s making an anticipated return to Showtime in 2016. Hannibal on NBC is also likely to get your blood pumping — just don’t let Dr. Lecter see. Much like Bates Motel, Hannibal is a prequel to the Oscar-winning 1991 film, Silence of the Lambs. Finally, American Horror Story: Freak Show has another mommy-son story line that is equally disturbing and comical.

Will you be caught up with Bates Motel before season three starts? Let us know in the comments below!

Tag Cloud

Discovery Channel SundanceTV adenture Fall TV Baby Yoda slasher PlayStation godzilla DC streaming service renewed TV shows stand-up comedy sag awards police drama Pride Month popular romance Logo IFC 2019 Calendar kaiju Tomatazos Alien President comic book movies television YouTube japan fresh travel singing competition scary NBA video quibi Broadway political drama miniseries know your critic Marvel 93rd Oscars news Teen Instagram Live name the review Emmys Cosplay Writers Guild of America Freeform Turner Classic Movies adventure Mary poppins FX on Hulu joker franchise Pop TV Best and Worst psycho Infographic Hear Us Out Pirates Rocky spain Spectrum Originals Adult Swim YA PaleyFest BBC America superhero Winners TruTV international olympics Musical Pop DC Universe blockbusters Marvel Studios Christmas Paramount Plus Mudbound 79th Golden Globes Awards Animation movie anthology hidden camera critic resources Fox Searchlight Oscars WGN crime Red Carpet cancelled TV series Paramount Network Captain marvel dreamworks worst movies TLC MSNBC Mindy Kaling GLAAD comic 1990s 2015 TCM french best Black Mirror Year in Review biopic Podcast Epix Quiz cooking king kong Video Games obituary Martial Arts Election sports VOD spanish language free movies ABC Signature versus Chilling Adventures of Sabrina twilight technology hispanic venice Binge Guide GIFs Amazon Studios Emmy Nominations latino Disney streaming service pirates of the caribbean Ellie Kemper History facebook Mystery romantic comedy mob what to watch spider-verse Apple TV Plus A24 archives YouTube Premium video on demand movies Walt Disney Pictures suspense book LGBT comic books vs. Apple docuseries Comics on TV Mary Tyler Moore Action binge Spring TV blaxploitation game of thrones space unscripted BBC One Lifetime Christmas movies 90s Masterpiece Funimation TV One cults Musicals El Rey hist New York Comic Con The Walking Dead Disney Channel disaster Lionsgate Comic Book reviews golden globes sequels HBO Go ITV supernatural Arrowverse new york Acorn TV ghosts OneApp MTV Classic Film Western dramedy scene in color HBO Max cinemax Awards BET Awards 99% kids parents festivals finale rom-coms sequel screen actors guild king arthur cancelled Dark Horse Comics satire American Society of Cinematographers Horror remakes Disney+ Disney Plus universal monsters National Geographic WarnerMedia 2016 Ovation NBC 24 frames legend harry potter DGA rotten football boxoffice Hollywood Foreign Press Association 20th Century Fox deadpool Countdown composers new star wars movies tv talk indie witnail Wes Anderson award winner ID worst diversity hispanic heritage month Opinion Sundance Now all-time Pacific Islander NYCC The Academy rt labs critics edition Pixar biography revenge spinoff a nightmare on elm street sopranos cars Nat Geo politics young adult The Arrangement laika Summer critics streaming movies Amazon Prime Video 007 Photos Cartoon Network LGBTQ CW Seed Valentine's Day concert SDCC 4/20 vampires Netflix Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt dragons robots A&E marvel comics Universal Mary Poppins Returns royal family true crime Women's History Month criterion Winter TV FX Legendary Black History Month Grammys Esquire Sundance TV Endgame asian-american TCA Awards based on movie Holiday BET genre documentary spanish TV Land APB mcc Stephen King doctor who USA Network cancelled television Sony Pictures Schedule FXX CMT black game show live event theme song new zealand IFC Films Spike Peacock Netflix Christmas movies Shondaland south america nbcuniversal RT History Reality BBC TV movies child's play cancelled TV shows Rocketman foreign IMDb TV Britbox gangster RT21 Hallmark Christmas movies transformers green book HBO Watching Series batman Brie Larson rt labs Sneak Peek scary movies feel good mockumentary Image Comics Elton John 73rd Emmy Awards docudrama See It Skip It Polls and Games serial killer cats Anna Paquin Star Trek CBS All Access dogs Columbia Pictures italian First Reviews saw Tubi toronto stop motion MCU marvel cinematic universe cartoon First Look Fantasy TV renewals Thanksgiving 45 action-comedy ABC Family werewolf natural history TCA Winter 2020 Song of Ice and Fire Rom-Com Disney Plus teaser ViacomCBS YouTube Red canceled TV shows Heroines elevated horror historical drama aliens Showtime Television Academy comedies Comedy Central james bond lord of the rings crossover Biopics FOX The Purge Amazon Bravo Rock christmas movies social media E! medical drama sitcom Family BAFTA GoT Super Bowl zombies zero dark thirty razzies strong female leads Kids & Family Marvel Television ABC Nominations casting aapi psychological thriller Starz Exclusive Video Ghostbusters leaderboard Superheroes TV Film ESPN halloween tv The Walt Disney Company telelvision hollywood Comedy scorecard golden globe awards fast and furious HFPA Chernobyl Music rotten movies we love CNN TCA 2017 Fox News trailers adaptation dc Lifetime richard e. Grant series spy thriller superman science fiction San Diego Comic-Con Pet Sematary thriller blockbuster women mutant Tags: Comedy wonder woman Hulu films Warner Bros. Food Network crime thriller Universal Pictures PBS DC Comics crime drama comics black comedy E3 live action 21st Century Fox rt archives Trophy Talk TCA 2021 Lucasfilm discovery Trailer Drama The CW posters zombie Superheroe dceu festival Crunchyroll animated Cannes cops screenings 72 Emmy Awards USA stoner OWN emmy awards children's TV Sundance Marathons boxing X-Men Interview Comic-Con@Home 2021 Turner classics Avengers Vudu heist movie TBS reboot Certified Fresh AMC 2017 prank Shudder comiccon Holidays Toys Premiere Dates dexter Extras ratings Academy Awards Hallmark japanese Disney die hard Paramount chucky halloween Amazon Prime The Witch period drama 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Box Office Set visit CBS breaking bad Country documentaries SXSW Star Wars monster movies dark justice league trophy anime nature streaming high school mission: impossible art house VICE slashers TNT Travel Channel kong target australia Prime Video book adaptation nfl jamie lee curtis Apple TV+ directors Fargo AMC Plus indiana jones 71st Emmy Awards Nickelodeon spider-man 2018 Crackle DirecTV Syfy Creative Arts Emmys basketball Character Guide debate jurassic park Neflix TIFF comic book movie independent Tokyo Olympics Television Critics Association Awards Tour Sci-Fi Tumblr war Tarantino Trivia canceled talk show Film Festival VH1 toy story 2020 Reality Competition